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Things I am afraid to tell you

I love the Things I’m Afraid to Tell You series happening around the blogosphere.  But sometimes I think that maybe I’m not so afraid to tell you things. I’m kind of an open book, you know? I mean, c’mon – I have an entire section on my blog devoted to my problems with my colon, for pete’s sake.

But. I think a lot about my younger self. I caught a glimpse of my high school graduation portrait at my parents’ house this weekend, and I thought to myself, “ohhh, man – you have no idea what’s coming to you, little 18-year-old Rachel!”   What would Younger Me think of Current Me? What would I tell myself? What would I be excited to tell me about? And what would I be afraid to tell me?

To High School Graduate Me, I would tell you that things are about to get a whole lot better for you/us. High school was rough, wasn’t it? Don’t you wish someone would have told you that it wouldn’t last forever? All those people who you felt drug you down and put you in that tiny box aren’t going to matter in a very short matter of time.  But don’t worry – that one boy that you really want to stick around is going to play an important part in the rest of your life. Trust that gut instinct, darling. When you/we go to Pepperdine, it’s  going to be one of the hardest and most wonderful years ever. We’re going to find ourselves pushed and pulled emotionally, academically, physically, and spiritually.  Oh, and your college roommate? She’s going to be running around naked for quite a bit and that’s going to drive you to change clothes in the dorm bathroom out of sheer embarrassment. That’s ok; she’s a weirdo. But then she’s going to move out around Thanksgiving because of a nasty throwdown. You’re going to feel pretty bad about that for awhile; but remember – we get to have the room to ourself the rest of the year. And that, my friend, is the stuff that college dreams are made of. Pursue that study abroad program for the summer because it’s going to change your life; don’t be intimidated by that insanely long interview we are going to have with the head of the French department. There’s going to be all kinds of awesomeness that happens in France. Don’t talk your roommates out of their wild idea of skinny dipping in the Mediterranean on the last night of the program because that will be one of your most favorite memories ever. That and the dog that almost ran off with your clothes laying there on the beach.

What am I afraid to tell you, High School Graduate Me? I’m afraid to tell you that you’re going to be absolutely heartbroken for at least a year when you leave Pepperdine. You’re going to feel lost and worried that you made the wrong choice and you’re going to yearn for those sunny days back in California.  The only thing that’s going to get you through is knowing that you’re doing what God has asked you to do. And when you get accepted into the viscomm program at OU, you’re going to breathe a huge sigh of relief because it seems like now you’re finally heading in the right direction.  You’re going to be thrilled to be in such proximity to The Boy that you know you’re already in love with. But it’s going to take awhile for him to figure out that he’s in love with you too. That’s ok. Even though nobody else totally understands why you’re hanging around, both you and I know for a fact that you can trust your gut on this one. He is the One and you are going to have the time of your life with him. He makes it all worthwhile because he’s the love of your life.

To College Graduate Me, I’m afraid to tell you that your first job out of college is going to be a sharp dose of the real world. It’s going to be lonely and it’s going to be a big adjustment. Nobody’s going to tell you that you’re going to second-guess that job choice you made. You’re probably going to second-guess it for quite awhile, which doesn’t really sit well with you because you like to be confident in your decision-making abilities. But I promise you that it’s all going to work out someday when you launch your own business and realize that you laid the foundation several years ago. When you realize that it really was worth all that hard work because now you have the experience to go out and get what you want.

To Newlywed Me, I’m afraid to tell you that marriage is going to be more work than you might have imagined. That first year that everyone says so hard really is hard as you blend two lives into one, but it’s going to be compounded by a chronic illness that you never saw coming. It’s going to hit you like a load of bricks and you’re going to wonder how you’ll ever survive it.  You’ll wonder how your marriage will survive it. You will uncomfortably settle into a New Normal, and then that New Normal will then be rocked by getting pregnant. You’ll discover that your late 20s might just be the hardest time you’ve ever experienced.  But you’re going to overcome it. God’s going to work a total miracle in your life. Yup, it’s going to be hard and not the way you would have chosen.  But in the end, you’re not going to want to trade that life-altering experience for the world because it will make you who you will become today.

To New Mother Me, I wish I could give you a great big hug right now. Because I’m afraid to tell you that you’re going to feel like a Mack truck hit you. You didn’t even see that premature baby coming, did you? Nope. And you sure didn’t see that postpartum depression coming either, even though everybody else around you did. It didn’t seem fair, did it, that nobody told you how hard being a new mom was going to be. But ohhhh man. All that pain, all that hardship, all that struggle? That baby is going to rock your world with love like you’ve never known and you’ve never had as much fun before as you are going to have now. You are going to love that baby even though right now you can’t even see straight because you’re so tired. New Mother Me, hang in there – you’re going to sleep again. You’re going to feel sexy and like you again. You’re going to lose that weight and fit in those jeans again. And you’re going to love your body more than ever before – even those C-Section scars because through those scars came your precious boy.

But! Do you know what I’m not afraid to tell you, Younger Me? It’s all going to be hard, but it will be so worth it. Life is hard. You’re going to struggle, but it’s going to make you stronger. You will be closer with your husband, more thankful for your baby. You’re going to be a good mother, even though you’re kinda scared witless about the whole ordeal. You’re not only going to survive, but you’re also going to thrive.

And you’re going to figure out that you’re probably not all that afraid to talk about the hard stuff because that’s what’s going to heal you.

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Participating bloggers – Round 1:

Design for Mankind | Little Brown Pen | Beautiful Hello | Curating Style | Sweet Fine Day |The Jealous Curator | Happy Days | Sage & Berries | Really Handmade | Peck Life | Satsuma Press | Rena Tom | For the Easily Distracted | The Hemborg Wife | Vitamini Handmade |Courtney Khail Stationery and Design | Meg in Progress | Dando Photography Blog |Widdershins22 | Alison Citron | Pink Moon Daily | Just Pretty Things | From China Village |Tea with Me | The Darling Ewe | Not Your Average Ordinary | The Electric Typewriter |Elleby Design | Parsimonia {Secondhand With Style} | Life as an Artistpreneur | Hello Cupcake | Dellie | The A & B Stories | Pretty Little Things | Feistyelle | Nib & Zed | Well and Cheaply | I Ripple. I Dance. | Whitfield Awesome Blog | Foxtrot Press | Dry As Toast | The List of Now | Apple Blue | For the Love of | Four Flights of Fancy | Miss Modish | Snapshots & Secrets | Dirty Laundry | Bubby & Bean | Penelope’s Press | Little Nostalgia | Vale Design |Pikaland | Fleurishing | Print Pretty | Vespa Tales | Hazel & Agnes | Amanda’s Musings | Mo’ Funk Designs | Ordinary Mommy | Camp 1899 | In Honor of Design | Liberty’s Yarn | Love, Life & Pictures | Stacey Winters | Owl in the Rain | Living Life Creatively | Emma Elizabeth Clease | I Live in Vacouver Now | British Cream Tea | Maquette | Little Paper Trees | Change is Necessary for Growth | Practically Perfect | Lovely Indeed | Radiant Republic | Teacher Goes Back to School | Acute Designs | This Little Street | The Proper Pinwheel | Kellee Rich |Gluten Free Travelette | Benbrie House | Sierra BB | Lost in Cheeseland | Going Home to Roost | Creative Soul in Motion | Quietly Fabulous | L’elephant Rose | The Anna Delores Blog | Some the Wiser | JRebecca Style | I Saw You Dancing | Wolfie and the Sneak |Threadbare Supply Co. | Lemonwood and Honey | Lolalina | This Texan Wife | C’est ma Vie|

TIATTY – Round 2 (list found at Mimi + Meg):

Coco + Kelley / Court & Hudson / Sacramento Street / My Cup of Te / Crystal Gentilello / MIMI+MEG / The Decorista / Modern Eve / Apartment 34 / Design Blahg / Vmac & Cheese / Miles to Style / Life in a Venti Cup  / The Zhush / Radiant Republic / Savvy Home / The Doctor’s Closet / Design Manifest / Because It’s Awesome / {extra}ordinary wonders / Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha On The Go / Note To Self / So Much To Smile About / Blogstar / The Goods Design / Style & Pepper / Small Shop Studio  / Long Distance Loving / Maggie Rose Blog / The City Girl In Me / The Best Laid Plans / Concrete Jungle DC / Food Fashion Fitness / East Coast Chic

TIATTY – Round 3 (organized by Lights & Letters)

Jill at Terra Savvy | Erica at The Elbow | Jen at Taking Off the Mask | Kate at Modern Home Modern Baby | Laura at My So Called Sensory Life | Monique at Razing Mayhem | Caroline at Salsa Pie | Leslie at Life In Every Limb | Tammie at Tam.Me | Melanie at Inward Facing Girl | Amy at Old Sweet Song | Michelle at Early Mama | Jen at Jen Epting | Leslie at Lights and Letters  | Sarah at SAWK Photography

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  • http://www.camp1899.com/ tiffany

    rachel… wonderfully written & expressed, i really enjoyed the way you shared your story.. glad to have found you through this great conversation! xo, t.

  • Erin

    I’m not a big comment-er, but that was so amazing.  I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes.  Thanks for being so transparent and honest.  I don’t know you well, but it’s obvious to see how much you’ve grown and how confident you’ve become by following along the last several years.  Your’s really is one of my favorite blogs to follow – keep ‘em coming.  
    -Erin

  • Lauren Toups

    Oh I love this. Makes me want to write a letter to myself too!

  • Kira

    Well, I am sitting here bawling. I just love your heart! It’s remarkable how different all of our stories are, and yet how we can still identify so completely with the emotions along the journey. I am so thankful to call you “friend,” and eagerly anticipate His future plans for your life!

  • pippinpearl

    Awesome. I’m so happy your shared all this. :) 

  • Caroline

    Oh my gracious, this is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  • karleechill

    So very well said. Thank you, Rachel!

  • http://www.oh-lovely-day.com/ chandra ~ oh lovely day

    What a great post!  I especially related to what you would tell to “New Mother You.”  You speak the truth.  it is so hard. so exhausting. so worth it.  I too had postpartum depression and developed a debilitating thyroid disorder postpartum, and it was hell.  I wish I could tell me to go easier on myself.  And that everything will work out.

  • Jessica

    this is wonderful. i had tears in my eye reading the entire thing. thank you for being so open and honest. xo

  • RachelShingleton

    Big thanks to everyone for all the kindness in the comments. I appreciate each of you.

  • http://www.savvyinsanfrancisco.blogspot.com/ Savvy in San Francisco

    Rachel – I LOVE your version!!! It’s such an interesting perspective…hard to go through things, but neat to look back and realize why they happened!